Liz Fuller is a former Miss Great Britain, a busy TV presenter and actress. She is a household name and sex symbol in Wales, and best known for presenting The Pop Factory (ITV 1 Wales), The Welsh Music Awards (ITV), regional presenter for Record of The Year (ITV). At the time of writing this article, Liz is currently presenting Quiznation on Nation 217 on Sky.
It was, however, during the filming of Number Plate Heaven, a show all about number plates on the Men and Motors channel, that Regtransfers met up with Liz.
No shrinking violet, Liz is a fiery, confident Welsh girl. She came up with the programme idea then produced and presented the six part series with Daisy Beck Productions. It touched on everything to do with registrations, buying, selling, manufacturing, auctions and celebrity plates.
“I am so creative, I come up with an idea a day, it's always a dilemma which one to run with and develop further. Number Plate Heaven was just one idea out of six I took to Men and Motors, in fact I thought it was my weakest. The others, apparently, were too expensive.”
Liz has been rewarded for her ideas and production talents and has been short listed for the BBC 3 Nations Award. However her most exciting project to date has just been announced. She has bought and taken over the licence for the Miss Great Britain pageant for the next 15 years. Previously she was the host and an organiser of the event every year since she won the title in 1996. With a business partner they aim to take it back on prime time TV with a new-style format where the British public vote for who they think should be the next Miss GB.
Liz continues, “Beauty pageants lost their popularity in the 80s and 90s, but over the last two years, I have noticed a huge increase in girls applying and they now appear to be coming back in fashion.“My goal as the woman in charge, is to create the most amazing opportunity for one talented intelligent and stunning lady.
The winner of Miss GB from now on will be signed to one of the biggest model agencies in the UK and US and will be given a speaking role in a Hollywood film. I am in a wonderful position to offer genuine advice and give introductions to some of the most powerful casting directors, TV film producers, agents and mentors in the showbiz industry.”
The event will be staged and televised on Saturday, 25th February 2006 at the Great Room, Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair. “We are currently working under wraps with one of the most exciting and powerful production companies and broadcasters in the UK to revive and take this into a 21st century TV format with an interactive element for viewers at home to vote.
“If anyone would like to suggest a girl as a contestant, don't be shy in coming forward. All information on the 40 regional heats due to be held from September to December 2005 will be on the website below with an application form to download. “The next Miss GB maybe a girl that never even considered it,” says Liz.
RT: What motoring shows have you been involved with?
Liz: I did Number Plate Heaven, which I actually wrote and took it to Men and Motors six months before they commissioned it. Gary Shoefield the boss there liked the idea and said to go away and write it up as a six programme series. I think he thought, 'Oh she'll never come back with six programmes out of this.’ but I did. I went back with it and he commissioned it on the spot. He loved it.
RT: What gave you the idea for the number plate programme?
Liz: When I first went to Men and Motors, I had about six programme ideas and, he liked the number plate programme 'because no-one had ever done anything like it before’. It's the most obvious. When you're driving around it's the most noticeable thing you see on someone's car isn't it? You may see two cars the same but you're never going to see two number plates the same.
RT: You went around the world to film this, didn't you?
Liz: It was filmed in America, we were due to film in Ireland but because of time restrictions we didn’t. Just the UK and America.
RT: Did you have an interest in number plates before this?
Liz: Yes, I always have. You know when you’re little and you go on long journeys, you would actually sit in cars wouldn’t you? Do you remember writing down number plates and searching for things like that?
RT: Like the first one to make a word out of the number plate in front?
Liz: Yeh, something like that.
RT: Do you have a number plate at the moment?
Liz: Yes I do, John and David Singh have given me the plate M15 SGB to help promote my new venture.
RT: What plate would you buy?
Liz: FUL 13R was mentioned at RT!
RT: They’re pretty cool aren’t they? [showing her the plates] Perfect for you aren’t they, would you be interested?
Liz: Yeh, I think I could be tempted.
RT: They’re up for £8995. We think that when we look at number plates, names are more unique than initials and letters, you can’t get Fuller any other way really. You could get your initials in several different formats but not names so much, which is why they command that kind of price. Would you think of having anything else other than your name on your car?
Liz: Yeh, I think of words you know. Funny things like, FOX 1E, something that’s kind of flirty and fun. There’s so many you can make up once you start thinking about it.
RT: So you’re going to buy a Porsche?
Liz: Yes, I think the car I’m going to get is a Porsche Boxster. I think most girls don’t know what cars are about, but I’m completely fascinated by them. I like speed you know, just sitting behind a car and feeling the engine, feeling the power.
RT: So what’s you dream car?
Liz: Dream car? Probably those convertible Ferraris. I don’t know which one, you’ve seen the new one? I saw it in like a sultry blue, OH MY GOD, it’s so beautiful.
RT: Are you doing anything else at the moment?
Liz: I am so busy at the moment. I am doing the gameshow on Nation 217 three nights a week, and running Miss GB in an office on Bond Street in the week. I am also reading possible film scripts, and waiting for a part to come up in acting that’s right for me. I have just auditioned for a film being made in Wales (back home) based on Dylan Thomas, and have been offered a small part but waiting for the filming dates.
RT: How do you find the live gameshow?
Liz: I love it. I love actually talking to the people at home because you never know who you might be talking to, it could be somebody who decides to call from Scotland. And sometimes you get a few people playing and you ask ‘are you playing with family’ and they say ‘no, I’m on my own’ and you feel ...aww… it’s a Saturday or Sunday or something and they’re on their own.
RT: So you feel sorry for them?
Liz: I don’t feel sorry for them, but I just think it’s nice that we can entertain people.
RT: And do you have any shows in the pipeline?
Liz: I’ve written a charity show, well it’s more like a challenge show were teams get together. I’m always writing shows, I’m always talking to broadcasters. I don’t just present, I’m involved with the whole production of the show.
RT: How far into this charity show have you got?
Liz: Concept’s written and it’s gone to ITV and some big production companies. So it just depends.
RT: Any feedback as yet?
Liz: No idea. But I’ve just had two meetings with an American agent, ICM, which is one of the biggest agents in the world and they’ve asked me to go over. They’ve asked me out to America, so I can write with TV writers and big production companies over there, and then audition for films and different things like that.
RT: So is your ultimate aim to be an actress?
Liz: No, I don’t think so. I only wanted to be a TV presenter when I was little and along the way there was a film made in my hometown called Twin Town. It was filmed in Swansea and I knew one of the writers and he asked me if I would play one of the sisters and I turned it down saying I don’t act. So all my life I feel as if I’ve been turning down acting parts and then two months ago I was signed to the International Artists agency. One of their suggestions was: ‘Liz, you need acting lessons because you need to be an all-rounder’, because auditions come in for films and TV and if I just keep saying ‘I’m just gonna do that’, ‘I’m not going to do anything else’, it actually gets to the point where they’re gonna think I’m too fussy. I think I may have been missing a lot of opportunities because I’ve been like that most of the time.
RT: Did you start with modelling?
Liz: Yes, I started modelling at the age of 15 or 16, and I entered all the beauty pageants and won Miss Great Britain. They sent me around the world, first to LA for three months then Taiwan, Hong Kong, Asia, Mexico, Las Vegas, Europe, and Portugal. I was sent to so many different places and at the time I was still at university. There was no way I could have travelled like that as a student, so it was good.
RT: Did you still manage to complete your university degree?
Liz: A week before my finals I was in Las Vegas doing a Hawaiian Tropic model. I was away for a month right up to a week before my finals at uni. I mean, it was really silly, my mum was screaming, get back to Wales, get back to Wales, study, finish your degree and then go. I got a 2:2, I think if I had studied more I would have got a 2:1.
RT: It’s good that you have something to fall back on, and that you haven’t sacrificed your education.
Liz: Yes, my mum wouldn’t have allowed it.
RT: Did your mum drive you into modelling?
RT: So you didn’t have pushy parents?
Liz: I was pushed into stage school so I did every single dance lesson, modern and acting and singing, American jazz, I did every single lesson there is at stage school. So when I finished I was sent straight to the stage school at night. I’d finish about 8 o’clock at night, every night, even Saturdays. My only day off was probably Sundays. My mum did probably push me to that but my mum didn’t really want me to work in show business. My mum for years kept saying to me ‘get a proper job’.
RT: Is your mum in show business?
Liz: No! The only link I did have with showbiz is that Catherine Zeta-Jones and I grew up in the same stage school. I think she’s about 6 or 7 years older than me and for everybody in my class, Catherine was used like a sort of mentor for all of us because at 15 she was doing the West End. She was up and coming and doing auditions and all of us in the classes below were told Catherine is doing this, all of you could be doing it too.
RT: So what do you enjoy the most, modelling, acting...?
Liz: I think TV. Although I am doing a play, it’s going to be my first acting part. It’s called Funk. Apparently, there’s a make-up brand or company called Funk and they’ve got together with screenwriters and scriptwriters to write this play. It’s going to be four days theatre and it centres around two cosmetic girls in a department store and it will be me, and I think they’re considering Jenny Powell. Basically we’re talking about our lives. I play the part of a girl, I think her name’s Ruth or something, where she’s late 20s, two kids, single mother, quite bitter, quite upset, she feels like she’s missed every opportunity in her life. You know people come to the counter and buy things like make-up and she’s really nice to them and then the next minute she’s bitching behind their back. It’s a funny kind of comedy script and I’ve got it, I’ve read it, I auditioned for it and now it’s just where it’s gonna be. I think it will be in either London or Manchester.
RT: How many performances are there?
RT: Why just three?
Liz: I think it’s just kind of a little test. It will be good.
RT: Will this be your first acting role?
Liz: No, I’ve been acting up all my life!
RT: But this will be non-stop won’t it, acting on the stage.
Liz: Yes, it will be different. I don’t know how I’m gonna deal with that. Because when I’m on TV I can talk for three hours but it’s completely ad-lib. I can just waffle but this is a script where you’ve got to learn every single line. So it’s going to be very testing for me and I’m actually very glad that, a) it is out of London and, b) it’s only three nights.
RT: What’s the best job you’ve had so far?
Liz: I don’t know really. Probably the Pop Factory because it was ITV Wales, prime time, big show and we were meeting big guests. Victoria Beckham came on the show, the Lost Prophets, Tom Jones. You know we’ve had loads of big bands. We discovered and interviewed The Darkness before anyone else and now of course they’re huge but two years ago no-one even wanted to see them on TV. So in a way I think Pop Factory and ITV Wales discovered them because that’s the first place they played. So it’s a good TV show.
RT: And this is your new flat?
Liz: It’s not finished yet. The kitchen’s just been ripped out, no handles on the doors! I’ve wanted an original Brigitte Bardot poster for years. Mine is actually a limited edition and dates back to 1963. It’s an original vintage poster that would have been in cinemas at the time to advertise the film. A lot of these got destroyed so there’s only... well I don’t know how many there are but I think there were only 1000 printed. And obviously a lot would have been torn down. I saw this poster about three years ago in a shop but it was sold and I said to the girl, Liza, in the collectors, its actually atthemovies.co.uk, that I absolutely love the poster but I couldn’t afford it at the time. I said who’s got it and she said somebody in New York has brought it. And I said ‘could you see if you could get me another one or get me the same’ and she said ‘how much would you offer’ and I said ‘well I don’t want to go to more than £2500’, so she went to them and said ‘would you ever sell it’? They had bought it for £1300 three years ago and I just bought it from them for £1800. That took a lot of squabbling as they wanted £2200.
RT: What’s the significance of it?
Liz: I don’t know, I saw it and just fell in love with it. You know when you see something and you think it’s just so beautiful. I mean, I’ve always loved Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot. I didn’t know much about them, but when I saw this I just thought it was the most beautiful, sexy poster ever. I think mépris means something like mistake or contempt, so there’s a bit of negative connotation there which I’m a little bit worried about but I just think it’s so beautiful and so strong. Even from my beauty queen days I actually studied feminism in journalism. So I did a journalism degree and I was picked on by my lecturers. A beauty queen is really bad, it goes against what feminists say. You know I’ve always been fighting that kind of thing, I don’t agree with that. If you are a beautiful girl but you come from a working class background, you can get ahead by modelling. You can travel round the world, you can make your own money and I used to fight those feminists arguments. When I saw this, I just thought it was a strong woman, it’s beautiful, it’s sexy and it just celebrates it all. And I collect matches. So my goal is when I’m old and I’m sat on a chair on my own and I will see my matches and every single one of those is a memory of a night out. So I won’t let anybody just give me any matches. I have to go to the restaurant or whatever. I also collect perfumes. I’m also going to collect artwork. I’ve also got original Marilyn Monroe trading cards from Auction World. They were printed but never cut. So there’s information on the back about films and interests. I have also collected original photos in the past of Marilyn Monroe but I’ve sold them.
RT: Tell us about Paul McKenna
Liz: Now looking back I think it was such a foolish thing to do. I was really emotional that day in our relationship and it just happened, not much else I want to say other than I now believe what happens in a relationship between two people should stay there. RT: You like living here in Chelsea? Liz: I love it. I use to be in St John’s Wood and Clapham. When I bought this flat, I got it in April, it was all oldie worldy. I bought this flat really cheap and could probably make 20 grand on it by time it’s finished. I’m the type of person who juggles a million things at once. I’ve also set up a company with a friend of mine who’s a designer and we’re designing handbags. We going to Italy and visiting the factories that have the softest coloured leathers. The company is called Love Bumble. Hopefully to sell through Harvey Nicholls or Harrods.
Liz Fuller Fact File
• Born in Swansea, the home of the DVLA. So, how ironic a number plate show was to be her very first own production • Absolutely fascinated by cars and speed, wants to buy a convertible pale blue Ferrari
• John and David Singh, the original owners of Miss GB, have given her the M15 SGB plate to use
• Spent all of January in Los Angeles where she has been spotted by a president at Warner Brothers and has been reading for film parts “I have currently turned down reading for more parts in the States, I've had to put Hollywood on hold to start my own little empire” • Just finished theatre in London, a comedy play called Funk Face
• Already signed for a US film called Control, based on the true-life story of Ian Curtis of Joy Division. Filming starts Sept 2005 in Manchester
• Has graced many magazine covers, and has modelled since age 16
• Campaigns include Dorritos Dippas, Boots No7 Makeup, Fosters Beer, Kronenbourg 1664, Hawaiian Tropic, Sol Beer, Suzuki Jeeps, Tahari, and the face of Motorflirt
“Not even going there...”
• Previous links with Thierry Henry, T4's Steve Jones, Paul McKenna
• Catherine Zeta Jones looked after Liz after class at Dumbarton House school
• Has a phobia of snakes and foreign languages
• Child theatre star in the Hobbit, tour of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat
• Won Miss Cardiff 1994, and became Miss Great Britain 1996/97
• First showbiz break, started on Radio Swansea sound Off the Wall chat show
• Did work experience at News of the World newspaper and hated it!
• Is a Capricorn
• Has a shopping fetish and sells clothes in three dress agencies in London
• Owns an original Brigitte Bardot dress
• Studied feminism for her BA Degree in journalism at Cardiff University
• Presented a National Lottery pilot show
• Liz’s agent’s details are on her own website www.lizfuller.com
Interview: Angela Banh
Photography: Stan Thompson © Regtransfers - The World of Personal Number Plates Volume 3 Issue 2